I started this blog one year ago, and 399 posts later, to my ongoing amazement, I'm still at it.
It seems appropriate to celebrate by (a) taking a semi-holiday and (b) publishing a list of favorite posts--yours, mine, and Google's. And I hope you make it all the way to the end, where I write about a movie I urge you to see.
Our Passion Is Your Problem, on the rampant abuse of the P-word in corporate lingo.
What's in Your Genes? on "corporate DNA" and its clones.
Capital Punishment, or, Why Corporate Writing Is in Love with Big Letters.
Naming (Adult and Juvenile Divisions)
What Not to Name the Baby, a modest proposal for bringing professional discretion to an out-of-control practice.
Naming 2.0, on Flickr, Meebo, and other Web 2.0 nuttiness.
The Naked, the Bimbo, and the Deliboy, or, the wide world of auto naming.
Jargon and Cliché
Value-Added, Outside-the-Box Sea Change--in Just Five Short Weeks! On clichés that deserve to die.
Nine Yards? Possibly my most popular post ever, on the mysterious origins of the expression "the whole nine yards."
Warren Buffett, Copywriter, or, why Berkshire-Hathaway's annual reports are so much fun to read.
Style vs. Style, on correct usage and personal expression.
Fear of Words (and Other Writer's Blocks), on visual thinkers and verbal thinkers.
What Journalism Taught Me--namely, to spell the names right.
My Favorite Word of the Week (So Far)
And speaking of D-Day, I want to tell you about an extraordinary documentary now playing in the Bay Area (and perhaps elsewhere): The Rape of Europa. Based on the book of the same name by Lynn Nicholas, it tells the story of the Nazis' systematic plunder and destruction of centuries of art masterpieces and the lengths to which local people--including some very courageous museum curators--went to protect and rescue those masterpieces. I've long been a bit of a WW2 buff, and I certainly was aware of Hitler's campaign against "degenerate" (read: Jewish) art, but 95% of the material in the film was new to me. Among the story's unlikely heroes were a tiny group of young American GIs--no more than 200 or so--dubbed "Monuments Men," who worked doggedly at the end of the war to track down and salvage the art. One of those Monuments Men was Bernard Taper, a former journalism professor of mine at UC Berkeley. Again: a surprise. I'd known Bernard as a gifted teacher and the author of a biography of the choreographer George Balanchine, but not this. How wonderful, and moving, to see him--now 89 years old and retired from teaching--interviewed on film.